mother goose, n.
The supposed author of a book of nursery rhymes first published as “Mother Goose's Melodies,” and usually called simply “Mother Goose.” The first English edition is said to have been printed in 1719 in London. The actual persons who composed the rhymes is unknown, and earlier similar rhymes in French are a likely source for some of them. Mother Goose is also used as the title of a book of Mother Goose rhymes. [PJC]